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The Truth about Rustic Living


We’re now into week two of our annual six weeks in Mallorca and it’s even more hectic than usual.  I always feel a bit guilty leaving behind friends for the summer to hang out here in the sunshine – it appears so decadent, so showy-offy to have a home abroad, but believe me, rustic living is  not for the faint-hearted. It’s no wonder that I have to drink the amount of icy blanc de blanc I do out here. Seriously.

I always expect long lazy days of summer, but out here the days zip by at an alarming rate.  And it’s not even as if we have the usual contingent of guests.  The serious partying starts next weekend.  One has to get one’s liver in training.

Emlyn has always jokingly described our tumble-down finca in the mountains as ‘camping with bricks’ and this year, I have to say, he’s more right than ever.

We arrived last weekend after a gruelling, torturous journey courtesy of Sleazy, which, thanks to the air traffic control strike took all night, to find that the house was in serious need of some TLC.  As well as the fridge, phone and the dishwasher all being kaput,  every towel, sheet, pillow and pillow case were mouldy, along with all the crockery and the ant invasion was clearly in the final phase of a serious a military take-over.

After a couple of hours fit-full dozing, we awoke to the usual wall of heat and the fug that you get when you sleep next to a fan, to walk outside into the deafening symphony of cicadas. 

On our last visit at Easter, we’d instructed the gardener to ‘let the pool go’.  I was kind of praying that he wouldn’t have understood my Spanglish, but the old water tank was duly a murky green half-filled pond.  Emlyn jumped in with the kids, shouting to me, ‘Come on, you wuss – you’ve swum in Hampstead ponds, this is no different.’  I begged to differ and instigated operation ‘drain and scrape’ immediately.

So I’ve spent all week chipping old paint off the walls, which satisfying as it is, has resulted in sunburn and bruised knuckles. But interestingly, the kids have had more fun plodding about in two inches of water, fishing for water boatmen with the net, than they ever have done when the pool is full.

But finally the place is taking shape.  The Middle One and I went to the garden centre and came back with bulging tomato plants and bushy basils to tart up the back eating area.  Then The big one and I painted the shutters in a lovely shade of Mediterranean green, which has resulted in us both looking like Shrek as the extra durable paint doesn’t seem to respond to my weak white spirit. 

So still on my to do list are: unpack the bags, sit on a chair and read my book.  I’m hoping I’ll get round to it…eventually.

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